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HHC study background and criticisms


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#1 dawei

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

[Note: I ask that comments are provided which cover the background of the work. As there are strong feelings about its authenticity, motive, or use, that such issues are welcomed here so that the actual chapter studies can be discussions based on the content of each chapter. Each chapter study is prefixed with: [HHC Study] ]
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I will start this thread with the daoist master Hua-Ching Ni's book, The Complete Works of Lao Tzu. Below is his Introduction to the Hua Hu Ching.
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Source: http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/0937064009
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"Few people are aware that after imparting the teachings of the To The Ching, as he traveled Lao Tzu continued to share his teachings with those who sincerely sought the high guidance of life from him. His essential instruction was to live according to the Universal Integral Way of balance and harmony. Only one known compilation of thse later teachings survived, and even it was destroyed. It has come to be know as the Hua Hu Ching.

When Manichaeism, the religion created by the Syrian religious leader Mani (215-274 C.E.) knocked on the door of China, its source was identified as Lao Tzu’s Hua Hu Ching. Several versions of the Hua Hu Ching may have appeared.. This one is my own education from my parents. The writing is my personal attainment.

After the Mongolian invasion, the Yuan Dynasty was established. The refined culture of the inland was devastated by the horse people. Emperor Shuen Ti (1333 C.E. – 1367 C.E.) was persuaded by jealous and prejudiced religious leaders of his own tribe of the border to ban the Hua Hu Ching and order all copies of it to be burned. Certain Buddhists in China felt that their spiritual leader Sakyamuni was degraded by the Hua Hu CHing, because people often associated him with the prince who is Lao Tzu’s student in the book. This association was undoubtedly inaccurate, since in ancient times there were so many kingdoms that kings and queens, princes and princesses, were as numerous as grains of sand on a beach. The prince could therefore have been any learned noble.

The influence of the Hua Hu Ching can certainly be seen in the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, although it is inaccurately interpreted as prajna (wisdom, which is the doctrine of emptiness). The influence of the Hua Hu Ching is also seen in the teachings of Sufism. However, the teachings of Lao Tzu and the principles of the I Ching elevated the new teachings of Buddhism as Mahayana when more translations of these works from the influence of northern culture move west and south. After being reedited, it went back to China. In the same period, Ch’an (Zen), Buddhism, produced several important Buddhist books said to be Sakyamuni’s teachings such as the Lani Sutra, the Sutra of Full Awakening, and a particular philosophical discussion called the Introduction to Mahayana, etc. These three were the most influential in making Buddhism part of Chinese culture. Thus Ch’an Buddhism is actually an ancient Taoist teaching cloaked in Buddhist garments which afterwards spread to Japan and Korea.

Manichaeism was absorbed by Tibetan Buddhism and folk Taoism. Some teachings of Zoroaster and Mani can be found in a reedited form as the Pure Land School of Mahayana Buddhism which was widely practiced in China. You can find influences of Lao Tzu and the Book of Changes in many of these teachings.

Cultural integration and the replacement of old religions by new ones is unavoidable as societies form and reform. New teachers always tailor their teachings for a new generation of people. Christianity is one such reediting of Greek philosophy and the virtuous conviction of Socrates with Jesus as the projection of such a combination.

All culture is based on the past. For example, Judaism is the reediting of Egyptian and Babylonian culture, and Islam is the reediting of Judaism and Christianity. Chinese culture draws upon the I Ching, which is derived from the simple inspiration of nature. To see the simple symbols Hu Tu and Lu Su please refer to my work The Natural Paradigm of the Universe.

According to Scholars, there were several versions of the Hua Hu Ching. The collection of Dunhuang Caves in Gansu province dating from 366 C.E. contains Buddhist statues, frescoes, and valuable manuscripts including the name Hua Hu Ching. The preface of the Hua Hu Ching and a few scattered chapters are also kept in the Taoist Canon which was compiled during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1643 C.E.). However, the Hua Hu Ching may no longer exist in China. Few, if any, complete and accurate copies of it exists today. It is only through the oral transmission of its teachings, generation after generation, by highly developed individuals, that Lao Tzu’s teachings have been preserved. Until now, the Tao Teh Ching has been the only work by Lao Tzu available to the public.

Truth itself is power. By using and persistently studying this book, many kinds of help can be obtained. The teachings of Lao Tzu point to and reveal the highest dimension of life that is the original focus and inspiration fro all religions. Its highest value, however, is the guidance to abide by the natural subtle law of the universe that I have expounded in Tao, the Subtle Universal Law.

The shell of a book can be burned by those who have not attained any spiritual development, but no one can damage the subtle truth that is beyond any form. For this reason, this precious teaching has now reached you.

This book represents my education as a youth. I was the hu or individual who needed to be civilized spiritually through a broad spiritual education. The contents of this version present the integral truth that is indivisible. No single religion is enough to carry the whole truth of universal spiritual reality, which must be whole or nothing. Every human creature has made a contribution to the unfolding truth of wholeness. Thus what I have presented here is not a segmented religious teaching, but the ageless universal inspiration for all people.

The material in this book is more than a translation it is an elucidation drawing upon my decades of spiritual cultivation and training in this tradition. Anyone who wishes to produce their own version of this material should work directly from an original text rather than copying from my work."

Edited by dawei, 04 January 2013 - 09:17 AM.

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#2 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

The more I've looked into Hua Hu Ching, I have realized that this document was all about how Buddhism was introduced into China. At the beginning, Buddhism was rejected in China. However, in order for China to accept Buddhism was to have it to merge into the Taoism(religion) because Lao Tze was well accepted at the time. Later, Buddhism becomes more powerful and had big conflicts with Taoism. Hence, there was a Taoist named, 王浮(Wang Fu2), who wrote the Lao Tze Hua Hu Ching(老子化胡經) to suppress the Buddhist influence.

There were many versions of the Hua Hu Ching. However, they were burnt due the decree by the present ruler at the time. Then the next ruler survived again. While the rise and fall of the rulers, the Hua Hu Ching comes and goes. Since Lao Tze was an atheist, there is no way that he wrote the Hua Hu Ching in accepting Buddhist into his writing.

Edited by ChiDragon, 04 January 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#3 Aaron

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:00 PM

Most academics are certain there never was a Lao Tzu, so what then? Hmm... I guess all of this is just bollocks, we can throw it out the window and do whatever we want. Well that is nice. I feel very free now.

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#4 deci belle

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:10 AM

Whatever suits the time and the capacities of the person's development in order to keep the knowledge alive through that person is the effect of the teaching.

It is important to keep in mind that the essence of the teaching isn't the product of any culture; it is the source of it.

The source of an authentic teaching in the world is what motivates people to find it from within themselves. Seeing through apparent cultural-boundedness in order arrive at its source is the responsibility of the person.

Sticking to historical convention is a sickness of those with scholarly conceits; it only serves as a barrier for self-refinement.
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#5 Marblehead

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:58 AM

(Moderator Note- This post was originally posted to the Hua Hu Ching Chapter 7 Study thread, but was moved here because any discussion of the validity of a chapter or text needs to be done outside the study thread. -Aaron)

 

This chapter is a perfect example of why I do not consider this book a source from Lao Tzu.

 

Reason:  The mention of liberation and reincarnation.  Both Buddhist concepts, not Taoist concepts.  Buddhism did not enter China until after Chuang Tzu's death.

 

However, sure, there are still people who will be reading the writings of the ancients.  There will always be seekers (of the truth?).


Edited by Aaron, 09 March 2013 - 04:00 PM.

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#6 rene

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 07:12 AM

:ph34r:


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#7 Marblehead

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 08:33 AM

What!?

 

Hehehe.


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#8 silas

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 11:04 AM

The Hua Hu Ching 化胡經 is a Buddhist-inflected version of the TaoTeChing. Some of its concepts conflict with classical Taoism. The title alone conflicts with classical Taoism.

 

The title translates as "Conversion Of The Barbarians" - a religious conversion text. It suggests coercive conversion, cultural imperialism and self-aggrandizement, not really the Way of Lao Tzu. The title is uncomfortable for me.



#9 Marblehead

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 11:21 AM

Silas, I have already spoken to this in other threads and don't want to linger on it too much.


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#10 silas

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 11:39 AM

Marblehead, I saw your post in the HuaHuChing criticism thread about "liberation and reincarnation".  Did you post anywhere else?

 

The HuaHuChing is not classical Taoism, but it is for Buddhists and their sisters the Christians, who don't believe in reincarnation but who do believe in good works, assertive prayer and sin.


Edited by silas, 13 July 2013 - 11:40 AM.


#11 Marblehead

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 11:48 AM

Marblehead, I saw your post in the HuaHuChing criticism thread about "liberation and reincarnation".  Did you post anywhere else?

There have been a couple other places as well as my comments to Vmarco sometimes when he quotes from it.

 

The HuaHuChing is not classical Taoism, but it is for Buddhists and their sisters the Christians, who don't believe in reincarnation but who do believe in good works, assertive prayer and sin.

I agree with you without going into detail.

 

Taoism became a formal religion after Chuang Tzu died.  Buddhism entered China after Chuang Tzu died.  Religious Taoism was established, in part, to compete with the growing popularity of Buddhism in China.  The Christians came a lot later even though there were some Jews in China during the T'ang dynasty.


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#12 rene

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:42 PM

silas, hi

 

I don't hold any animosity towards the Hua Hu Ching or any other writing; all writings have their purpose and the purpose of the HHC may be as you say.

 

What I object to is when folks attribute something to Laozi that is clearly not Laozi thought. Yes, the TTC can be stretched to meet someone's needs, and that is... well... to each their own, I guess. But when something in the HHC, which is so antithetical to the TTC, is being quoted as "Lao Tzu says _______" then the rest of their position is weakened. If they say "The HHC says _____" that's fine. It's the disingenuous representation - for credibility purposes - that turn me off. Starting with the HHC being categorically represented as being written by Laozi. If Li Ehr wrote it, it must have been after he had a stroke cause he sure would've had one after seeing what he'd supposedly written. :lol:

 

warm regards 


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#13 Mal

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 03:10 PM

In his introduction master Ni references himself as "the barbarian being changed" I find his book intellectually interesting, it's easier to "see" it's history and influences but Walkers version really captures me emotionally and I feel "transmits" the intended message better (if only because it's language and concepts more closely match my current culture and time)

Regardless of whatever "ism" the ideas and concepts of the HHC are "labeled" as, I find value in exploring them.
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#14 rene

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:27 AM

Mal, hi (-:

 

First, I agree that whatever writing inspires has value; and I'm glad you enjoy the HHC.

 

Second, I apologize for my interactions in the Chapter 15 thread. Not for saying the things - but for not initially knowing that the HHC was believed to be written by Laozi. In the Ch 15 thread, I was speaking towards how different the HHC is compared to the TTC. It wasn't until later in the day (through a Vmarco thread where he did the "LaoTzu said ______" for a HHC passage) - that I learned he was quoting from the HHC.  This thread, or the other one discussing the HHC itself, would have been the appropriate place for my ideas - and that's what I'm apologizing for.

 

Which means... I'll just have to watch as you and others explore the HHC chapters as all my contributions would probably begin with: "Oh no it's not....." LOL  - but I do enjoy reading them as you present them and I'm grateful for your efforts.

 

warm regards


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#15 hydrogen

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 07:47 AM

silas, hi

 

I don't hold any animosity towards the Hua Hu Ching or any other writing; all writings have their purpose and the purpose of the HHC may be as you say.

 

What I object to is when folks attribute something to Laozi that is clearly not Laozi thought. Yes, the TTC can be stretched to meet someone's needs, and that is... well... to each their own, I guess. But when something in the HHC, which is so antithetical to the TTC, is being quoted as "Lao Tzu says _______" then the rest of their position is weakened. If they say "The HHC says _____" that's fine. It's the disingenuous representation - for credibility purposes - that turn me off. Starting with the HHC being categorically represented as being written by Laozi. If Li Ehr wrote it, it must have been after he had a stroke cause he sure would've had one after seeing what he'd supposedly written. :lol:

 

warm regards 

 

Well, it should be observed that "Lao Zi" has multiple meanings in Chinese language.

 

One of the meaning is "father",  "Lao Tzu says __" can be translated into "The father says __".

 

"Lao Zi" is also a common reference to oneself as in "the almighty and all unkowing I".

 

It's a common joke to quote "Lao Zi" like the fortune cookie quoting confucius.

 

Don't ever say that the Chinese scholars don't have a sense of humor. :)


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#16 rene

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 08:32 AM

Hydrogen says, "All Chinese scholars have a sense of humor."

 

Works for me. (-:

 

warm regards


Tao is the spiritual space,
where one has complete freedom of mind,
but can still work to do what needs to be done.
~ my friend, Daniel





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